Low levels of cesium found in rice


The Fukushima Prefectural Government said Friday a small amount of radioactive cesium, below the allowable limit, was detected in raw rice in Nihonmatsu, some 60 km from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The level came to 22 becquerels per kilogram against the government-set maximum limit of 500 becquerels, in the first case in which cesium was detected in newly harvested rice in Fukushima Prefecture. But no cesium was found in the polished version of rice harvested in Nihonmatsu.

The prefectural government also said no cesium was detected in rice harvested in Koriyama and Motomiya, which are also about 60 km from the Fukushima plant.

The prefecture plans to complete radiation tests on rice harvested at some 200 points in 21 municipalities within the prefecture by Sept. 10.

Farmers have already been prohibited from planting rice this year within a 20-km radius from the leaking plant and in some more distant areas where heavy contamination was found.